A/N: Trope #10-'Kissing on New Year's Eve' And yes, before you start demanding, there is a very good chance for a couple 'and a half's' to emerge from this one. Keep an eye out. :) Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think.
Her intention had not been to spend New Year's Eve in a hospital bed. But the world had a strange way of taking intentions and tipping them on their ear.
Felicity had been in a rush all morning. Whereas most people had the day off, she was on the phone the majority of it handling last minute details for the party Oliver was throwing for the investors. It was a lavish affair held atop Queen Consolidated's rooftop balcony. She'd had to arrange for the delivery of twenty portable heaters to be placed around the space in a last minute scramble when an unexpected cold front had moved in.
But by late afternoon everything was going as it should, the icy cold rain had moved out, and she'd been able to hand over the reins to the event planner. It still left her with precious little time to get home and change. As she zipped up the dark blue gown she gave herself a quick once over in the mirror and let out an exasperated huff. What was the point of buying gorgeous dresses if she didn't actually get to enjoy wearing them? She was gathering her clutch, and pulling her heels on at the same time as she threw a cloak over her shoulders and headed out the door.
The party technically didn't start until eight but she had left searches running on the lair computers the night before and the alert had come in that they'd gotten a hit. A stop off in the Glades had not been on her itinerary but she didn't have a choice. If she didn't spend too much time there she would only get to the party a little late.
She sent a quick text to Oliver letting him know and he replied almost immediately, telling her to hurry. Felicity rolled her eyes and shoved the phone in her bag as she pulled out of the parking lot. Oliver telling her to hurry meant he was being forced to deal with Isabel Rochev on his own. Frankly she wasn't too inclined to make that aspect of his life easier. He'd literally made that bed, it was his to deal with.
Verdant was practically vibrating as she pulled around back. The exclusive party Thea was throwing seemed to be going well and Felicity slipped in with no problem. She'd wanted to be in and out in only a few minutes but once she started it took three texts and finally a phone call from Oliver before she looked up and noticed it was already eight.
"Felicity, I need you." he said into the phone by way of greeting, and damn her traitorous heart for flipping at his words.
"I'm sorry! I'm just...we got a hit and then…"
"And then you got distracted. I'm familiar." there was a hint of amusement in his voice, "The search can wait. There's nothing we can do tonight anyways." he reminded her and she sighed in resignation.
"Fine," she said already reaching to shut off the monitors, "I'm leaving now. Try and attempt to function until I get there."
There was an unexpected pause before he replied, "You know I'm lost without you."
She'd only meant dealing with the caterers, and investors, and other people he hated having to handle that usually fell to her. But the low quality of his voice, and the way her stomach had swooped left her head reeling at what he might have meant.
Felicity cleared her throat as she hurried up the steps, and pushed into the refreshingly frigid night air. "You'll just need to hold on a little longer, Mr. Queen. I'm sure you'll survive." she sounded a bit forced and before he could answer she thumbed off the call and sank into the driver's seat.
Later, she'd admit to being distracted as she left the Glades and headed back into the city, but even if she hadn't been the patch of black ice she hit would have been no match for her little car. All she'd remember was a small scream coming from her throat and the detached thought that she was going to be really late for the party before her car came to a halt against a tree.
Her head was throbbing and bright lights swirled around her when she tried to open her eyes. A low groan made it's way out and then there was a hand holding hers. "Oliver?"
The hand squeezed hers once but it didn't feel right, "No, sweetheart." a rough, familiar voice said and she forced her eyes to open.
"Detective?" it took her a second to remember the accident and she tried to look around but her head wouldn't move. A wave of panic flushed through her as she realized she was on a stretcher that was being rolled towards an ambulance.
"Give us a minute, guys." Lance said to the paramedics who were about to load her. She wondered if he'd gotten the call to respond or if the SCPD just knew to let him know now when she was involved.
His hand was on hers again and she was grateful for the contact, "You've got a brace around your neck because you banged your head pretty hard, but they don't think anything is too serious. You're still going to the hospital to get checked out though." he told her gruffly and she felt her pulse begin to lower. It was also then that she noticed he wasn't in uniform.
Lance looked around and leaned in closer, "Accident reconstruction is going to take a bit of time. Can you tell me what happened?" He thought there was a chance her wreck was Arrow related.
"Just black ice." she told him, her eyes were getting heavy again,
She tried to nod but couldn't. A fog was filling her mind and Lance's form became hazy in front of her. "I want Oliver." she said, only half aware that her words were slurring.
Lance said something again but she couldn't make out what, just that he sounded worried. Then there were hands on her, and a bright light being shined in her eyes that she wanted to get away from but couldn't.
A voice called her name and then there was nothing but blackness.
The low repetitive beeping she heard drew her from the dark, and she had a moment of disorientation as she tried to remember what had happened. Carefully she opened her eyes to see a darkened window with a familiar form standing in front of it, arms crossed, looking out over the city.
She tried to shift in the bed but regretted it immediately as pain flared across her back and down her left shoulder. Her eyes were clenched tight as she took a deep breath through her nose and settled back into the pillows. When she looked up it was to find Oliver at her side looking more worried than she'd ever seen him.
"Hey," he said softly, eyes narrowing in concern as he stared down at her, "How do you feel?"
"Like my car and the tree I hit didn't get along very well." her voice felt tired and disused, and her attempt to go for levity fell flat.
Oliver scrubbed a hand over his face and turned away for a second, causing a flare of guilt to go through her.
When he turned back he planted one hand on the railing and leaned over her, fingers coming out to brush along her cheek and then her hairline where she felt a bandage she hadn't noticed yet. "You scared me." he murmured, dull eyes meeting hers as he let her see for just a moment the fear he'd had. "When Lance called and said you'd been in an accident and were unconscious…"
She tried to ignore the little tingles of heat that came from his touch, but failed. "I'm sorry,"
His head shook imperceptibly, "A car accident…" he sounded so confused and off balance and so not like himself it was starting to worry her, and then she knew why. Their lives were so dangerous, always a new threat, always a new fight. Life and death on an almost daily basis. Where jumping out of planes, and being taken hostage, and bullets, and serial killers were the norm. Something as mundane and ordinary as a car accident taking them out had never factored into the realm of possibility.
"I'm okay." she said quickly, lifting her good arm to wrap her fingers around his wrist. But he still had that haunted look in his eyes, "I am okay, right?"
With a shake of his head he pulled back some, "Yeah. Concussion, bruising, a few scrapes." as he spoke his hands trailed over each injury, like he needed to catalogue them to add to the book of guilt he carried around with him at all times.
"Oliver, this is not your fault. It just happened." she said, with as much steel in her voice as she could muster,
"If you hadn't gone to check on the searches…" his eyes had dropped and he was pulling away from her.
Ignoring the pain her hand shot out and grabbed his, "Don't. It just happened. And you know there was nothing you could have done to stop me from going."
He stared at her in silence and it was only after the quiet surrounded them that she noticed the feel of his tuxedo jacket under her fingers.
"Oh god, the party!" she blurted out, hand falling back to her lap, "Oh you had to leave the party. I'm so sorry. What time is it? You should go back. Isabel is going to kill me…"
Suddenly he was right there again, leaning over her with a look so intense it took her breath away. "I get a call saying you're in a car accident and have been taken to the hospital and you think I wouldn't have left a party. Felicity, there is nothing more important, do you understand?" he swallowed thickly and she couldn't have looked away if she wanted to.
His hand slipped behind her ear, his thumb gently coasting over her cheek. When he closed the distance between them and just let his forehead rest against hers she couldn't hold back the gasp, or the way her hand reached up and fisted lightly in the material of his shirt.
"I'm just glad you're okay." he whispered, and she could feel his breath on her face as she tried to imprint the moment into her mind to remember later.
Flashes of light outside the window caught their attention and he turned his head just enough so he could see. Fireworks lit up the sky over the harbor.
"Happy New Year, Oliver." she said softly, as he turned back to look at her, face only inches from hers.
"Happy New Year, Felicity." he replied, and before she could process what he was doing she felt the cool press of his lips on hers.
It was over too quick, but the electric sparks she'd felt still lingered. She looked at him in shock as he stood up and dragged a chair to the side of her bed. He sat down easily and slipped his hand through the safety rail to take hers. The slight upturn of his mouth let her know he was enjoying her temporarily stunned silence.
"Oliver…" she began, her brain unable to make sense of what had just happened.
Thumb rubbing across her knuckles he turned his attention to the end of the fireworks as she tried to come up with something to say.
"What? You have to kiss on New Year's Eve or it's bad luck."
"Bad luck? I don't think I've heard that before." she countered, glad she could finally speak.
"It's true." he gave her a half cocky grin over his shoulder and she couldn't help but smile back.
"Well...we don't want to break tradition. Or have bad luck."
They watched the finale as fireworks in all colors exploded one after the other. When the last one fizzled into nothingness and all that could be seen was faint trails of smoke he shifted so she could see his face again.
"Do you think this year will be better?" she asked without thought
His eyes clouded as he undoubtedly thought back over all the terrible things that they'd gone through in the year before. But when he looked at her there was a tight smile on his face and a glimmer of hope in his eye. "I think it already is."
One Year Later
Oliver politely excused himself and left his half empty champagne glass with a passing server as he stepped to the perimeter of the room. The dance floor was overflowing with people, and the food tables were packed. Everyone seemed to be having a good time which was the point of the party. After the New Year's Eve event the year before had been such a success the Board had insisted they continue, much to Oliver's chagrin.
His eyes scanned the space, searching for one person in particular but coming up lacking. Felicity had been doing one of the latest group dances with his sister last he looked but now he couldn't find her.
Digg caught his eye and nodded imperceptibly towards the doors that led outside. This year they hadn't bothered with space heaters. A snow storm was due to hit overnight and the temperatures were enough to keep everyone in. The fireworks could be seen just as well from the windows Felicity had argued, and the event planner had capitulated.
A brisk wind cut across the empty balcony as he pushed through the doors, turning to see Digg coming to stand in front of them ensuring he might get a few minutes of quiet.
Oliver looked left but didn't see her, a few more steps and he spotted her to the right, tucked away in the only secluded area out there. He let his feet drag on the concrete as he approached, not wanting to startle her.
"Sorry, I'll be back in in a minute, just needed some air." she said over her shoulder without looking at him.
The bright blue gown she wore was cut dangerously low in the back, and he caught himself staring.
"It's okay, no rush." he assured her, coming to stand at her side.
"It's stuffy in there, and I was dancing with your sister," she said by way of explanation
"Are you cold?" he asked, already beginning to shrug out of his jacket when her hand landed on his arm.
"I'm good." she said with a laugh.
He settled his arms back on the rail and looked over the city. His city. Which was currently being watched by his rookie recruit. Felicity fiddled with something in her hand and he realized it was her ear piece. When she noticed him watching she flushed and slipped it back in.
"Roy's fine, Felicity." he told her for what felt like the hundredth time that night.
She'd been like a mother hen earlier that night before they'd left the lair. It was the kid's first solo and even though he would probably do nothing more than sit around and listen to the police scanner she couldn't stop from going over everything again and again until Roy had finally shot him a desperate look and he'd had to grab her by the wrist and almost force her to leave.
"I know he's fine. I just checked in with him." she said with a non-apologetic shrug.
They returned their gazes to the city and it was a long moment before she spoke. "Don't think I don't know what you did earlier." she said knowingly and he had to crook an eyebrow at her before she continued.
"You and Digg conveniently showing up at the lair and being able to give me a ride. That wasn't the plan."
He winced internally as he recalled Digg telling him she'd see right through it. "Felicity…"
"I know why you did it. And it's sweet. But the temperature was well above freezing when we left." she turned slightly so she could see him, "There wasn't any ice out there."
"I just didn't want to take any chances." he admitted. He could still remember the fear that had shot through him a year ago exactly, almost in that very spot when he'd gotten the phone call from Lance. 'Your girl's been in an accident.' he'd said. Everything after that was a blur until he reached the hospital and demanded to see her.
"I selfishly wanted to see you in an evening gown and not a hospital gown on New Year's this time." he said with a tilt of his lips that he thought would go far in lightening the mood. But as usual she saw right through him. He wasn't able to keep up the facade as another memory struck him of her in the hospital, except that time she wasn't released a few hours later.
She laid a hand on his lapel and stepped closer, blue eyes sparkling. "I still think we had a pretty good year."
He let out a ragged exhale and looked away. He didn't know how she could say that.
"We're all still here, Oliver." she said gently, like she had to remind him.
"If your measure of a good year is that no one died then…" he tried to step back, but her hands held firm and he felt rooted to the spot.
"It's better than the alternative." she replied with a sad smile, and for a second he hated himself. Hated that he'd drug her into this world of his where winning was survival and nothing more, and losing was very very permanent.
Her hand flashed out and cupped his jaw, tilting it back towards her until he could see the flash in her eyes and he knew he was about to be on the receiving end of a classic Felicity Smoak tongue lashing.
Before he knew what he was doing he had one finger laid across her lips, trying to ignore the sparks that shot up his arm at the contact or the way her eyebrows flew into her hairline at his action.
"How about we end this year on a good note?" he implored and actually watched the debate going on behind her eyes before they softened and she acquiesced.
Slower than he intended he let his finger fall from her lip, not missing the small hitch in her breath as it dragged over her lower lip just a bit.
Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were suddenly darting everywhere, finally landing on the harbor where the barges were in place for midnight. "It'll be nice watching fireworks with you and not be in a hospital room." she said, in a voice that seemed a bit shaky.
Her words washed over him and he was once again hit with the memory of not once, but twice viewing the pyrotechnic display from her hospital room. The second time was only six months ago. Malcolm Merlyn had returned from the dead and she'd gotten in the crossfire. For two weeks he'd barely left her bedside. They watched the Fourth of July celebration with her in a wheelchair.
He felt her shudder and he didn't know if it was from the cold or a memory of her own but he didn't wait to pull her into his arms. She came easily, hands sliding under his jacket and around to his back as he felt her face tuck into his neck.
"Thanks, I guess I am cold."
One arm was wrapped around her shoulders, the other around her waist. The fingers there unconsciously found her hipbone and inched their way in until they rested over the spot he knew held a scar. She trembled against him and he just held her tighter. Malcolm's arrow had left her bleeding out and close to death before he'd gotten her help.
There had been a shift between them after that. One that neither of them was in a rush to define, but that they both acknowledged even if it was unspoken.
Up until two months ago, the short, fleeting kiss he'd given her a year ago had been the only one they'd shared. Then there had been a mission. A mission that involved both of them and a needed distraction and the next thing he knew he'd had her pinned against the wall, with her tongue in his mouth and Digg yelling in both their ears.
There had been a shift between them after that as well.
They were standing on a precipice, looking down, holding hands. They were just waiting for one of them to say 'jump'.
Something was telling him the moment had finally arrived and he needed to act before it passed them by. Slowly he pulled back as she lifted her head and stared up at him. She let him see it all for one unguarded instant, but it was enough and he returned her gesture in kind, grin widening at her shocked expression.
He wasn't expecting her hands to sneak back to his front and take a firm grip of his lapels pulling him towards her as she rose on her toes and slanted her mouth over his. For a moment his legendary composure failed him and he stood stock still as she worked her lips over his. Until his brain and his body reconnected and then he was pulling her hips into his and sliding a hand up her bare back and behind her neck to better direct the kiss.
The low groan that came from her throat sent his blood boiling and he couldn't help sucking her lower lip between his teeth and biting down. Her hands flew to his hair, nails scraping over his scalp as she kissed him back with fervor.
When she pulled away panting he redirected his effort to her neck and the path that led to her ear. She shivered when he sucked a spot under her jaw, tiny noises of approval the only sound she seemed capable of making.
Booms and hisses made their way to him and finally he lifted his head to notice flashes of light as the barges had begun to let off their display.
"Wow, I thought the fireworks were only in my head." she said breathlessly and he couldn't help but laugh.
She turned in his arms, leaning back against his chest as he held her. In silence they watched the entire show.
When the last one had disappeared into the night she pivoted to face him, fingers lifting to run along his stubble. "Happy New Year, Oliver."
He smiled down at her happy expression and pressed a kiss to her temple, "Happy New Year, Felicity."
This kiss was not as heated, but it still spun his insides and left him wanting more when they parted.
"It's going to be a good year." she said with certainty and a smile that made his heart lighter,
"A very good year." he agreed, pulling her in for one more bruising kiss before his phone buzzed in his pocket.
With a sigh he pulled it out, face narrowing to a scowl as he read the message. Without a word he turned the screen so Felicity could see what Roy had sent.
"Dear 'Dad', please remind 'Mom' to turn off her comms when you two are making out. It's weird.